The Basics of Blackjack

Blackjack is a casino game in which the player’s objective is to beat the dealer. To do this, the player must either have a hand that exceeds the dealer’s total or not go over 21 when the dealer does. The player has several playing options, including the ability to surrender, split, double down, and hit. Blackjack also has its own procedures, codes of conduct, and playing strategies to help players avoid drawing the ire of fellow players or the dealer.

Blackjack games are played on semicircular tables that can accommodate varying numbers of players. Each player makes his bets in one of the betting spaces on the table. Cash is not used to make bets; instead, players use casino chips called checks. Players can purchase these at the casino or ask the dealer to change their cash into chips. The dealer then stacks the chips in front of each player.

Once all of the players have placed their bets, the dealer will reveal her face down card. If she has a ten underneath, she has a blackjack and will take everyone’s original bet. Players who have not bought insurance may then choose to buy it. Insurance is a poor bet for the player since it pays 2:1 while the odds of the dealer having a blackjack are very close to 9:4 (depending on the number of decks being used).

After the player has looked at his initial two cards, he can decide whether to hit or stand. To hit, the player makes a beckoning motion with his hand and taps the table behind his cards lightly with his finger. To stand, the player signals this to the dealer by making a circular gesture with his hand. The dealer will then deal the player another card.

If the player’s hand is closer to 21 than the dealer’s, he wins 3:2 as long as the dealer does not have a blackjack. If the dealer has a blackjack, the hand is considered a push and neither the player nor the dealer wins money.

Some casinos reduce the standard 3:2 payout on blackjacks to 6:5. This increases the house edge and takes more money from the players.

In order to become a blackjack dealer, a person must be 18 years old and pass a criminal background check and drug screening. The dealer must also complete a training course that includes instruction in dealing rules, table layout, customer service skills, and the proper handling of cards. Once a dealer has completed the training, she must be certified as a Certified Professional Blackjack Dealer (CPBD). This is an internationally recognized certification that guarantees dealers are knowledgeable in all aspects of blackjack dealing. To obtain this certification, a dealer must pass an exam that consists of multiple choice questions. These exams are offered by the International Blackjack Dealers Association. Dealers can find testing locations through the IPA or by contacting local casino schools.